Does the AfCFTA have a clear design and will it live a Life of its own?
The AfCFTA has been designed to comply with the typical multilateral rules applicable to an FTA covering trade in goods and service. They include Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), as well as those requirements dealing with the elimination of substantially all tariffs and other restrictive regulations of commerce among the State Parties. The AfCFTA Agreement and the Protocols contain several provisions incorporating disciplines from the trade regulating instruments of the World Trade Organization (WTO), such as those dealing with trade remedies and standards. And the AfCFTA Protocol on dispute settlement is based on the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the WTO.
On face value the AfCFTA is meant to be a rules-based trade arrangement; legal obligations agreed upon should be respected. Monitoring of compliance and dispute settlement are part of such endeavours. These are important technical aspects of the AfCFTA. They constitute benchmarks for evaluating the AfCFTA and assessing its implementation over time.
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